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After years of promise, promotion and development, technology that can charge devices from across the room or through walls is coming to market.
Ossia and Energous, both proponents of newborn technology, used CES 2022 to showcase new products that will carry security cameras, doorbells, hearing aids and similar products constantly charged while eliminating cables or charging charges.
Cota, a wireless charging technology developed by Ossia, will begin appearing on products from French electronics maker Archos later this year, Ossia chief executive Doug Stovall said this week in an interview from CES in Las Vegas. . Cota sports products will include a fully wireless security camera, an air monitoring sensor and a pet tracker that will arrive in stores this year. Archos has not yet revealed the prices.
Stovall hinted that another Ossia partner – “I think the big Scandinavian-based furniture companies” – is working on the commercialization of the Cota Power Table, which uses Ossia technology to transmit energy from the ceiling to conventional desks phone charging. The table can be useful in businesses such as cafes, allowing customers to turn on without connecting.
Energous featured a host of devices that use its WattUp charging technology, which also transmits fluid across a room. Products include EarTechnic hearing aids, Gokhale PostureTracker medical monitors and Williot intelligent tracking labels. Energous did not disclose prices and availability.
The emergence of products using Ossia and Energous technologies highlights the maturity of charging systems that do not require a physical connection to an energy source. Longer-range wireless charging technology, such as Cota and WattUp, sends radio beams to devices that need modest amounts of power and are several meters away from the transmitter. Although not powerful enough to charge a laptop or TV, technology has the potential to make it easier to charge the growing number of smart devices for smart homes and the Internet of Things with less power at home, office, shops and factories.
“If you have smart locks, ring-style doorbells and other security cameras or baby monitors, it starts to add up,” Stovall said. “Suddenly you have to start worrying about how you keep these devices alive.”
Ossia and Energous technologies detect devices and create direct connections for higher power and greater efficiency. Ossia also offers software that regulates which devices are allowed to charge, so customers do not have to worry about neighbors firing their radio waves.
Another company, Powercast, is using radio energy to power in-store electronic price tags, which autonomous roaming robots built by Badger Technologies can read to monitor stock levels. Powercast is also targeting consumer products, as evidenced by University of Arizona researchers building Powercast-enabled medical sensors that appeared at CES.
Unlike short-range wireless charging, which uses the Qi standard and requires devices to be housed in a charging block, longer-range wireless is still a battle between proprietary technologies. In addition to Ossia, Powercast and Energous, start-up GuRu Wireless is also a competitor. Short-range charging rose seriously only after the industry was set to a single standard.
One drawback to getting long range charging in homes and businesses is cost. Charging transmitters, which transmit power to devices, cost between $ 200 and $ 300 for Ossia technology. Ossia antennas and electronic receiving devices, which add support for devices with this technology, add between $ 1 and $ 8, depending on the power rating and other factors. (Some of this cost is offset by eliminating conventional power electronics.)
There is also an exchange of sizes. Miniaturization is nice, but larger transmitting and receiving antennas can transmit more power. Cota works on devices as small as an AA battery.
The original Ossia charging transmitter is a panel about 2 square feet (60 centimeters) that fits into a ceiling panel. At CES, Ossia showed two smaller developing panels, one 40 by 40 centimeters and the other 30 by 30 centimeters. The smaller model can be plugged directly into a wall outlet or plugged into a smart speaker, but smaller sizes have a shorter beam.
Different types of longer range wireless charging are also coming. Startup WiTricity hopes electric vehicle manufacturers will adopt wireless charging technology, turning parking spaces, charging docks and even roads into energy sources. At CES,, an example of a technology called energy harvesting.